July 07, 2010

More CEOs Drawn into Tang Jun's Fake Academic Credentials Scandal

Translation: 唐骏“学历门”事件升级 牵出一群造假老总, originally from Yangcheng Evening Post (羊城晚报)

Tang Jun, former president of Microsoft China (Source)

Tang Jun (唐骏), former president of Microsoft China and current CEO of Newhuadu Industrial Group (新华都), has been facing a string of accusatory claims that he falsified his Ph.D. credentials. The accusations came from Fang Zhouzi (方舟子), a popular science writer who is known for combating academic misconduct, and caused a huge stir on the internet. The event further escalated yesterday when Tang Jun acquiesced to an interview by CNR, during which he openly responded to doubts and questions for the first time. However, as late as last night, Fang Zhouzi and others continued to examine Tang's academic records. An alleged Tang's school roster also began circulating, and it shows that many more Chinese public figures graduated from the dubious Pacific Western University. Their educational backgrounds are likewise suspicious.

Doubt 1: Is his doctoral degree real?

The whole controversy started on July 1st, when Fang Zhouzi wrote on his sina microblog that Tang Jun never obtained any degree from California Institute of Technology (as was supposedly written in Tang's book My Success Could Be Duplicated). "I could not find Tang Jun among the list of graduates from CIT's computer science department. Nor was there anyone whose last name was Tang. U.S. Ph.D. dissertation databases do not contain his thesis either."

After a few days of silence, Tang Jun told the CNR reporters that "I never said I graduated from CIT with a Ph.D, but I had done a bit of research there. I do have a doctoral degree, just not from CIT."

Where, then, did Tang Jun get his Ph.D.? Tang claims that he was in a Ph.D. program in Japan for five years, only to abandon everything and head to the U.S. right before his defense. "I ended up at a private university called Pacific Western (PWU), did some research, and got my degree. I have diploma to prove it."

Doubt 2: PWU is not a real university?

Tang Jun claims that PWU is an accredited university. Can he tell us who his thesis adviser was, what his research topic was, and where it was published? --Fang Zhouzi

Fang Zhouzi relentlessly pursued the subject concerning Tang's PWU degree. According to one of his microblog updates yesterday: "Tang said that he graduated from PWU, but this is a notorious university known for selling diplomas for money. It first registered in Hawaii, but never received any accreditation from relevant U.S. agencies. Due to repeated scams, PWU was sued by the State of Hawaiian and was forcefully disbanded." Fang Zhouzi pointed to a survey by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which listed the prices of PWU diplomas as follows: bachelor's, $2,295; master's, $2,395; doctor's, $2,595, all of which must be one time payments. "What's the difference between Tang's purchased 'doctoral degree' and a fake degree? Neither is recognized by society or any institution. The person cannot legally claim that he has a doctorate."

Doubt 3: Fabricated patents

I invented this thing. I produced all the original data, software, and hardware. Why can't I say it is mine? --Tang Jun

Additionally, Fang Zhouzi cast doubt on the two patents that Tang claimed to own. One was for a camera that produces photo stickers and the other for a karakoke rating machine. "First, all relevant English documentation declare that the camera was invented during 1994-1995 period by a 30 year old Japanese woman named Sasaki Miho. Second, the patent for the karaoke rating machine was filed by Pawate, and later by Tanaka and Wakamoto. Tang does not have any patents under his name."

Tang Jun responded by saying "I came up with the camera prototype" but that he sold the prototype to a Japanese company. "I never said I filed the patent application, but the prototype was created by me. And this is always what I say during my speeches." As for the karaoke invention, Tang explained, "I got the technology and the design ideas while in school. Then I put together the first model. At the time, I was negotiating with a Korean company through an intermediate company, eventually filing for patent through this Korean company. I believe I have an claim to the patent over its entirety."

Tang Jun's scandal implicates Shanda

The statements Tang Jun made about his Japan sojourn during the CNR interview meant he never obtained his degree in Japan.

This portion of the interview led the public to question Shanda's 2004 prospectus for NASDAQ. Tang Jun was the CEO of Web Development Division at Shanghai Shanda (盛大) from 2004 to 2008. On his microblog, Fang Zhouzi pasted an excerpt from Shanda's prospectus, "Mr. Tang holds a doctorate degree in electrical engineering from University of Pacific Western, a doctorate degree in electronics from Nagoya University, Japan."

"Tang Jun claims that because he felt regret for not receiving a degree in Japan, he wanted to get a degree from an American university. But Shanda wrote in its prospectus that Tang Jun graduated from Nagoya with a Ph.D. This is supplying stockholders with false information." Fang Zhouzi said.

Shanda has not responded as of the time of this report.

PWU scandal involves many

Just when Fang Zhou was posing questions about Tang's academic credentials, Chairman (surname Yu 禹) of the Board of Directors at some Beijing investment twittered: exposing the falsehood behind one's credentials destroys one's livelihood; it is a "mean-spirited act." Yu's message was very sympathetic towards Tang Jun. Netizens soon discovered that PWU also figures prominently in this Chairman Yu's vitae.

The scandal then took a turn for the dramatic. A netizen somehow obtained a directory of all those who graduated from PWU's business school with a Ph.D. On this list, Yangcheng Evening News reporter saw many CEOs, presidents, senior directors, seniors directors of publishing agencies, as well as directors of research institutions. Some netizens thought this to be amusing, [for, by attracting attention to himself,] Dr. Yu managed to expose all his fellow schoolmates. The reporter is currently verifying the authenticity of this list.

If you can access this LinkedIn page, it confirms that Tang Jun was not being forthright when he told the reporter "I never said I graduated from CIT with a Ph.D, but I had done a bit of research there. I do have a doctoral degree, just not from CIT." (unless this was a profile set up by someone else in Tang's name)



Related Post

Why Diploma Fraud Won't Be the End of Tang Jun?

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